In January of this year seven benefit assessors across three separate London councils took advantage of their roles to commit over £1m in benefit fraud.
Using false identity documents and bank accounts they had access to, they took advantage of the roles they had to achieve staggering levels of fraud and extrapolate funds from the public purse when it can least afford it.
Ben Reid, specialist prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: “The defendants were trusted with public money, but abused the systems to satisfy their own greed. Their criminal network was large and complex.”.
This being reported just one year after a similar fraud happening across London in Harrow.
Cases like these are the reason why benefit applications have laborious verification processes in place that actually slow the administration process down for everyone.
The few effectively spoiling it for the many.
It takes about 30 minutes to process a benefit claim but it can take 30 days to chase up/receive all of the necessary evidence to process said claim.
In 2011, Risk Based Verification (RBV) became mainstream with the publication of the S11 Circular. RBV recognises that there are specific combinations of variables on claims that means some claims do not need the full amount of evidence the old school Verification Framework suggested. In fact 55%+ of claims actually fall into the low risk category meaning only proof of ID is required. This led to IEG4 building RBV integration into both its eClaim and eChanges (for Housing Benefit / Council Tax Support) products.
However, to get to the pinnacle of evidence verification we considered how we could automate this even further. This led us to realise that if we could:
Confirm Identity in real time
Validate the bank account details a person provides are not just valid but that they relate to that person claiming
We could remove all evidence requirements from those in the low risk category and simultaneously prevent the types of fraud happening in the two articles previously.
Partnering with the London Borough of Lambeth and TransUnion, IEG4 has integrated its online benefit claim service with CallValidate to achieve precisely this. Now, when a benefit claimant makes an application their identity is checked in real time and evidence required dynamically updated. If they have indicated they want the money paid to themselves and the bank details they have provided do not relate to them, it will actually prevent submission.
By leveraging real time web service calls powered by smart credit reference agency functions, we have ensured fraud is removed and is prevented intelligently and that the many get their applications processed quicker.
Like with the introduction of Risk Based Verification, IEG4 is the first online service provider to integrate to CallValidate.